Mediterranean diet may reduce risk of heart disease in women, study finds


A Mediterranean diet could reduce the risk of heart disease in women by 24%, according to a new study.

According to the authors, this is the first analysis of its kind on the possible link between a Mediterranean-style diet and cardiovascular disease that focuses on women.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, and in the United States it is the leading cause of death among women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is often seen as a male problem, but coronary heart disease kills more than twice as many women each year as breast cancer in the UK, said Victoria Taylor, senior dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, who has no not participated in the study. .

The research analyzed 16 studies and found that women who follow a Mediterranean diet more closely than others had a 24% lower risk of cardiovascular disease. They also had a 23% lower mortality risk, according to the report published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed medical journal Heart.

The report, led by researchers at the University of Sydney, describes the diet as high in unprocessed plant foods and low in red or processed meat and dairy products. It also contains whole grains, vegetables, fruits and nuts – and extra virgin olive oil as the main preferred source of dietary fat.

The challenge of caring for women’s hearts

Although studies have looked at the impact of these diets on cardiovascular disease, they have generally not focused on women, the authors said.

“So it really confirmed that a Med diet was just as beneficial for women as it was for men,” Sarah Zaman said. australian tv. She is an author and associate professor at the University of Sydney’s Westmead Applied Research Centre.

The researchers acknowledged the limitations of their work, including that the studies were largely observational and reliant on self-reporting of dietary intake. They said, however, that it “underscores the need to include gender-specific analysis in research and to translate these findings into clinical practice guidelines.”

Observational studies meant they couldn’t show cause and effect, and reliance on self-reporting is “a regular problem with dietary studies that can affect the reliability of results,” Taylor said in an e-mail. mail. Nonetheless, “gender-specific research like this is critical to closing the gender gap in heart disease and improving care for women,” she said.

“It’s long been known that eating Mediterranean-style is good for the heart, but it’s encouraging that this research suggests that when we look at women separately from men, the benefits remain,” Taylor said.

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